What We’re Reading

A few good pieces the Collab team came across this week …


Growing old:

People over 65 years old would outnumber children by 2035, a first in U.S. history, according to updated projections released by the Census Bureau. The milestone would be the latest marker of the nation’s aging, which has accelerated with baby boomers’ move into their senior years and recessionary effects on births and immigration over the past decade.


This is wild:

A new study from NASA has found that astronaut Scott Kelly’s genes are no longer identical to those of his identical twin after spending a year in space. Preliminary results from NASA’s Twins Study found that seven percent of Kelly’s genes no longer match those of his twin, Mark. Scott Kelly spent one year aboard the International Space Station during the study, while his brother remained on Earth.


This is wilder:

More than 30 percent of men ages 30 to 34 born to the poorest families were either in prison, in jail, or former prisoners. These numbers, in turn, go a long way in describing the growing population of American men who are outside the labor force. “Roughly one third of all not-working 30-year-old men are either in prison, in jail, or are unemployed former prisoners,” Looney and Turner write.


Interesting if it happens:

America could become the first country in the world to force tobacco companies to reengineer their products so they’ll be less addictive.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it’s moving to put in a place a regulation that will set a maximum amount of nicotine cigarettes can have.

The FDA first discussed the measure last summer as part of its comprehensive new plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation. But today’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking is the first real step in initiating the long, bureaucratic process that would make the regulation a reality.



In the last 92 trading sessions, Amazon has added $304,512,850,704 to its market capitalization.

Not that $300 billion in 92 days needs context, but here’s some anyway: This is more than Amazon was worth in April 2016, not even two years ago. This is bigger than every company in the S&P 500 with the exception of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, and Exxon Mobil. Amazon added more to its market cap in 92 days than it did in its first 5,147 days as a public company.


An amazing description of how Stephen Hawking communicated:

My main interface to the computer is through an open source program called ACAT, written by Intel. This provides a software keyboard on the screen. A cursor automatically scans across this keyboard by row or by column. I can select a character by moving my cheek to stop the cursor. My cheek movement is detected by an infrared switch that is mounted on my spectacles. This switch is my only interface with the computer. ACAT includes a word prediction algorithm provided by SwiftKey, trained on my books and lectures, so I usually only have to type the first couple of characters before I can select the whole word. When I have built up a sentence, I can send it to my speech synthesizer. I use a separate hardware synthesizer, made by Speech Plus. It is the best I have heard, although it gives me an accent that has been described variously as Scandinavian, American or Scottish.

Have a nice weekend.